Vinesh Phogat: I have learnt from my setbacks

The Indian wrestler spoke about the lessons learnt from Rio 2016, learning to handle failures and more.

Vinesh said that recent performances at the Rome and Almaty events did not gave her right assessment ahead of Tokyo Games -AP

Setbacks have helped Olympic-bound Vinesh Phogat grow as an individual and as a wrestler, enabling her to make an objective assessment of her improvement in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Vinesh, a World championships bronze medallist, had a forgettable outing in the Rio Olympics as she retired midway through a bout because of a knee injury. Now, she sounds wiser about the episode.

“What happened in 2016 was disappointing. I am mentally ready now even if there is a negative situation,” Vinesh said during an online interaction facilitated by the Sports Authority of India on Friday.

“I have learnt from my setbacks. I was thinking why this happened with me but then I realised the universe always chooses you to be stronger. That is the law of nature.

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“I was emotionally breaking down a lot. But now, I have become matured. If I lose today, I know I have flaws and can work on them. My anger has probably become less. I have controlled my aggression. I have become mentally stronger and have learnt a lot after Rio.”

Considered a strong medal prospect in Tokyo, Vinesh – who was inducted into the Target Olympic Podium Scheme in 2015 and has been supported with Rs 87 lakh in the current Olympic cycle – said, “I’m on the right track. I’ve reached 85 per cent. I don’t want to peak early. I am making different strategies for different wrestlers. I have to fight with them accordingly.

“I am aware that people have a lot of expectations from me but I am not under pressure. This gives me extra incentive to train and perform. If they are expecting, I have to bring a medal for them.”

The 26-year-old rates teenagers Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik, who have also qualified for the Tokyo Games, highly. “They have a strong passion for winning, no fear. That gives them confidence. I am happy Sonam and Anshu have joined me for the Olympics. I’m not the only woman wrestler now! They will push me and I will push them,” said Vinesh.

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